Shema denies allegation of financial malpractice

IMMEDIATE past governor of Katsina State, Dr. Ibrahim Shema has described as malicious and wicked the allegation by the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration in the state that he left the state with N42 billion debt.

He also described as untrue the claim that his administration incurred a foreign debt portfolio of US$78,000,000.

Reacting to the report of the Mustapha Mohammed Inuwa led Transition Committee set up by the present state governor, Alhaji Aminu Masari, which was submitted to the governor on June 26, 2015 in which several allegations bordering on financial misconduct were levied against him, Shema said the allegations were concocted to soil his name.

In a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari by his lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN the former governor said all the allegations “constitute an untrue and unconscionable attempt to sully the locally and globally applauded developmental strides of his tenure as Governor of Katsina State, as well as dent his image, and assassinate his character”

He described as untrue that the state government under his leadership incurred a debt in the sum of N42 billion or any sum at all, saying “without any fear of contradiction, that all through his tenure, no loan, whether internal or external, private or public, local or foreign, was applied for Katsina State”.

He also described as untrue the claim that his administration owed N3.1 billion as gratuities to retired civil servants at the end his tenure.

The former governor explained that the US$78 million was an accumulation of facilities taken by previous administrations dating back to the military era and for which money were deducted from the state allocation to service.

He challenged the Maisari administration to make public any foreign taken by his administration, as well as the amount and the purpose for which the loan was obtained.

“All moneys disbursed by or through the Ministry of Finance throughout our client’s administration were carefully documented, and the said documents were supplied to the present administration. It is therefore strange and mischievous to say the least that the transition committee alleged that a sum of N13 billion is unaccounted for by the Ministry of Finance, without supporting the said accusation documentarily, factually and without founding same on any logical or analytical ground.

“This mischievous allegation totters the imagination and begs the following questions, to wit, how would the sum of N13 billion disappear from a ministry in Katsina State when the same government admits that the amount left in the coffers of the State by the Ibrahim Shema led administration is in excess of N4 billion as at May 29, 2015 after the payment of salaries for the month of May?

“How would anyone alleged that such an amount is unaccounted for when it is on record that Katsina State was/is the only state in Nigeria that fully paid the salaries as at May 29, 2015. We invite Mr. President to note that this outstanding performer and very prudent administration settles May salary before leaving office”, he said

The former governor denied that money meant for the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) was misappropriated saying all the funds allocated to SUBEB have been appropriately and judiciously appropriated.

“It is important to mention that throughout our client’s eight-year tenure, he set up a Free Education Programme for the entire Katsina State. Little wonder, the state was annually adjudged as the best performer by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC)”, he added

He described as false that he embezzled N7.1 billion SURE-P fund in Katsina State saying “the disbursement of the SURE-P fund in Katsina State is provided for, and dully expended in strict compliance with the provisions of the State’s Appropriation Law”.

He explained that despite the meager allocation to the state during his tenure, he did not borrow and was able to bring to the state , a “wave of developmental initiatives and socio-economic attainments, which are not only apparent, but can be seen by all”.

He added, “It is on record and needs no debate that our client was the only known governor in the country who did not procure or obtain any local or external loan throughout his tenure as governor; despite his monumental achievements.

“Katsina is neither an oil producing nor a mineral endowed state. It is basically an agrarian state. Our client depended solely on statutory allocations from Federation Account to skillfully manage and run the affairs of the sate. There was a strict financial and budgetary discipline.”

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